A dark September night inaugurates the scariest but bravest event of my life: living for my baby who couldn’t.
Men must live and create. To the point of tears.
- Albert Camus
Quite a shock to my serene existence is about to happen. I’m a full 25 year old, hopeful, pregnant. Less than 24 hours before I just had one of the greatest joys of my life, an ultrasound of my first baby reveals a girl full of life! At mid-pregnancy appears a little lady inside my womb, apparently healthy. We have been dreaming of her for years, and she’s finally there.
Feeling the kicks she gives is my biggest pleasure that overcomes the morning sickness (funny term for something that, for me, lasts all day). Moments when I drive the long ride to my job, I secretly send her telepathic thoughts and loving energy. Nine months seem so long to me until I can hold her! Minus the “morning sickness”, I feel great, or so I believe.
In retrospect, something was already failing us. To this day, I’m not sure why the dreadful event happened, if it was due to a fall off my bike when I was 13 (girls, use a girl bicycle, and guys, you should too), was I born this way, or if I ate something not adequate. The nasty reality was that at 20 weeks of pregnancy, I was about to deliver my baby without explicit warning signs.
Out of the blue, on this nightmarish night, the waters break.
I can’t believe it but quick, I hold myself together. My boyfriend and I head to the hospital. Still hopeful, I believe I can stop this process. Lying down on the backseat, I hold my tummy and the baby. I try my best to be stress-free and resonate a “It’s ok, we’ll make it, I’m here and I’ll do my best at that”. But I can’t quite stop an alarming feeling that it’s not fine…
At the hospital, I’m urged to lie down on a cold uncomfortable bed for a while until we get the lab results for what’s happening. A nurse tells me that maybe I can stay like that for a while and deliver her alive later. How I hold on to this!
All night I talk to my baby. I hold her and feel her weight in my hand more than ever. As the night envelops us, so I tend to comfort ourselves. I use all my mental strength to remain calm. She kicks for a while and calms down.
I can’t sleep though. Not this night, as if I want to savor all the time with her.
The verdict falls: I have to deliver her the next day. If not, I might not make it. An excruciating infection is taking place, and I risk death. This is all less alarming to me than this: at this age, there’s almost no chance she survives.
My world crumbles.
Our blessed, hopeful, lively world crumbles.
The doctors are right. Looking at the bare facts, at least one of us can make it. But this decision is so crude if not cruel. Dr X seems particularly cold to me, the way he imparts his judgment. But not time for gentleness it seems. If I wait, I might die, and she might not make it (it’s usually around 24 weeks that one can). If I don’t, I’ll survive but she will not make it; “or maybe she will”, I secretly hope.
We have to act fast. In the morning, it has already been 24 hours I haven’t slept. And I agree, without another reasonable option, to labor induction. The hardest choice of my life… So one of us can survive. Enjoy life. My boyfriend too would give his life for us, but he can’t do anything, only urge me to live.
I choose on the spot to make a deal. To live a life well lived, living for me and living for my baby, so some good can come out of this.
When she arrives in this world, she has already left. What a cruel destiny to die the day of your birth! Or maybe her destiny was just for a short while to live with us, being loved. September 15th, also the birthday of her great-grand-mother, is a bittersweet day.
I can’t hold Sammy, for I sense she’s already gone. I want to remember her spirit, alive and well. And I can’t take any more sorrow, on the verge of exhaustion. I haven’t slept in 36 hours. I’m physically drained more that I even taught possible. And emotionally washed. I do my best to stay spirited, but the joy of surviving isn’t overcoming my loss at this point. I feel hollow. Lonely, departed with a fragment of my soul. I struggle, feeling guilty for a while of the decision we had to make, loving her so but facing she’s not here anymore.
Spinning the sad facts in my head, not knowing what to do of death, I grieve for months.
The Do-What-You-Love Journey Dawns
Overcoming grief, I get consoled by the fact that I felt her alive, felt her exquisite energy. She was cared for and loved, for her time here. I learn that love is temporal – I have to live each instant as everything might, will, leave. And intemporal at the same time – my existence is forever changed by her. I’ve come close to death to be changed for the rest of my life, as other similar accounts agree.
Dr Y, a sweet lady, tells me: “I know it’s hard to believe, but parents in similar situations come to me and tell me it has a reason to be”.
Winter approaching, I decide to let go of grief. “Enough!” I remember the deal of living for my baby I made. I spend my days taking care of myself, with my dogs uplifting my mood.
It hits me: “I’m at the dawn of my do-what-you-love journey. Let’s make this new life I’m given remarkable, by my own standards, living for my baby at the same time.”
Slowly but surely, I’m resilient and become my better self to have a baby again.
Five months later, I believe Dr Y. If it didn’t happen, I would not be having not only one baby, but two: I’m pregnant with twins! Rumor has it that she could have come back with a friend. Why not? Well I don’t know, but I’m sure wherever she is, since the energy principle of nothing is lost all is transformed applies, she’s “alive” somewhere.
I’m always amazed at women who have normal pregnancies. It’s such a miracle to me and most of them don’t realize it. I guess it’s like that for most of our blessings we take for granted. On this second pregnancy, the same premature delivery was about to happen. But we get it before, thanks to my awareness, an intervention by a gifted doctor, and surprisingly, the not-so-cold Dr X to whom we owe their lives. I “only” have to stay on bed rest for about 4 months, all summer and the beginning of autumn. When I set my mind unto something, I do it, and I stay positive. Let’s do it!
My goal is to have my boys at term, so I do all I can. Nothing involving getting up, even eating, but a quick shower and bathroom time. Each day is a victory – I mark them on my calendar and grand events such as: “Today they can survive”. Against all odds, I had the charming boys near term, all ready to live.
People are often amazed of my dedication to persist through adversity, almost cheerfully. To believe in my dreams and do what I love. The doctors were amazed I did every thing they told me. But I’m surprised future moms don’t do it – forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing to themselves or their babies.
The truth is that I want to be a good mom from the start, and being committed is almost easy after all I’ve been through. My insight is that when you finally get it, almost with no exception, being alive isn’t that bad, and you owe yourself to have your loveliest life. You can find love at what you are right now, if you can allow yourself to see it.
The saddest event of my life was my greatest teacher. Living for my baby had given birth to joy: two miracles.
The wisdom I gained is hard to tell in full, amongst it are those commandments:
- Care to love
- Determination can win
- Fear can be surpassed
- Live in the moment, it’s all you have
- Feel blessed to love and be loved (it was a blessing to know her the most, even for not much time).
- Death isn’t scary as it can seem
- Believe in yourself, willingness to live, survive and thrive.
Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality.
My days are now bright forever. I know how to let go, live blissfully (living for my baby), without fearing death, and making love come first.
I don’t wish dark nights for anyone. But I know now that in darkness lies great discoveries. And that what doesn’t kill us have chances to make us stronger. Full of love.
This past week has been hard. My doberman Eli nearly died, a GMO labelling petition I started signed by about 16 000 people was ridiculously overlooked, and calf strain is to be overcome for my upcoming half-marathon. But life is a marathon, and my living-fully attitude as well as past lessons give me the strength to keep going, even if I have to crawl at times, and find joy.
When death comes at our door, literally or not as when a dream crashes, or when a change is needed, let us be born again like a phoenix and do what we love, for us and for those who can’t.
Reflections on life
- What dreadful situations in your life let hopeful ones in? Don’t forget to celebrate the latter as victories.
- Realize the miracle of being alive. Live for those who don’t have this chance. What would you do if you were to quit this life soon, or what would you regret not having done?
- Go through the grieving process but proceed to meet your life.
- When in an impasse, learn lessons and find another street to go where you want.
- What can you do to prevent some bad events?
Dedicated to Samaelle. Thanks so much! Love ya babe, wherever you are. You let your footprint in this world, inspired me to keep going, no matter the obstacles and fears, and see what’s great. So, you’re in everything good I do. In this blog too.